Guest Editors' Introduction: Veterans' Voices
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Subjectveteran; war; transition; assimilation; Operation Enduring Freedom; Operation Iraqi Freedom; Operation New Dawn; social justice; student veterans; Student Veterans of America; GI Bill
Suggesting that higher education is at a pivotal time regarding the influx of veteran students on campus, this and the following essays argue that faculty have an ethical obligation to investigate and, if appropriate, respond to the veteran student demographic enrolled in two- and four-year institutions. We hope to encourage language, literature, and writing faculty to rethink their preconceptions of war, warriors, and military culture—to ask hard questions about what we know about the wars, the people who fight them, their families, and the public narratives that have controlled our access to “combat operations.” We encourage faculty to engage the complexities of war, to honor the complicated questions and dilemmas military members face, and to understand how those questions will likely filter into classrooms, social interactions, and broader national discourse. We provide our colleagues with an opportunity to hear veteran voices in the hope that classroom teachers can have some grounds on which to reconsider and engage with the culture of war. We have an opportunity to theorize classroom practices that are in clear contact with veteran experiences and, more important, an opportunity to engage with veterans and service members not simply as objects of study but as colleagues.